In 218 BC the second Punic war started when Hannibal from the Carthaginian empire marched his ginormous army across the dangerous Alps towards the growing Roman Republic. His army included hundreds of elephants, thousands of Numidian cavalry and tons of Gallic infantry. Firstly, they lay a siege to Saguntum, a city allied with Rome in Iberia. After the siege, Hannibal crossed the Alps into Roman territory.
When Hannibal crossed the Alps he won battle after crushing battle in the Roman homeland. As the Roman legions attempted to destroy Hannibal’s army, he outsmarted them and then destroyed them. For example, during the battle of Cannae, he arranged his army in a crescent shape with the cavalry in the wings. When the Romans attempted to break Hannibal’s center, his center retreated while his wings advanced and eventually changed the formation from a crescent to a circle with the Romans in the middle. The cavalry attacked both sides of the enemy and annihilated them. The Romans were cut into pieces. Blood was everywhere. The battleground was a sea of bodies. Only 14,000 men managed to escape.
The Romans were afraid. Hannibal’s men were only 1 weeks march away from Rome itself. And they were not sure the Roman defenses will hold up against the Carthaginian commander. Fortunately for Rome, Hannibal doubted that his army could sack Rome. His plan was to destroy villages and force the Romans to sign a peace treaty that benefited Carthage. Sadly for him, the plan did not work and once-mighty Carthage eventually lost to the strength of the Roman republic.
But what if it didn’t, you might ask. What if Hannibal invaded Rome and the unstoppable Roman republic was, well, stopped? Well, that’s the point of this article now stop interrupting it’s rude. So if Hannibal sent his large army to Rome and successfully invades the entire Italian peninsula, what would have happened?
Well, firstly Carthage would not simply replace the Roman empire. Although they were both major powers in the Mediterranean ocean, the similarities mostly end there.
The Roman republic had a warlike culture. They gained most of their power by conquering and invading. Carthage, by contrast, depended on mercenaries, men who fought for money and their power came from trade and wealth. Therefore Carthage would not be able to conquer the Germanic tribes, the Egyptians, and most of the lands around the Mediterranean ocean. It is likely if not certain that these lands will stay independent.
So Carthage would rule the sea instead of the land in order to keep control of trade routes and blockade their enemies. Also, most surprisingly, The most widespread religion, the one that influenced European history the most, Christianity, would not be so widespread if it still exists at all. Just in case you don’t know, Christianity was legalized in the Roman empire by emperor Constantine in 313 BC. Since then it became the main religion. Also, without the Romans, the religion would most likely be outlawed.
In this alternate timeline, Europe is pagan and the north is split among tribes. The Carthaginians are the main economic power. Also, the more civilized nations live along the Mediterranean, with a split between the people of Greece and Italy with the barbarian people of Germany and Britain.
Of course, this is only one scenario. We would never truly know what would have happened if Carthage won the Punic wars. What do you think would have happened?
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzdC6EX6WSs (By AlternateHistoryHub)
- https://www.amazon.com/Hannibal-Romes-Nightmare-Wicked-Histoy/dp/0531221741 (By Philp Brooks)